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September 3, 2015 – September 9, 2015


This week HistoryLink.org kicks off the new school year with a reminder to students and educators to check out our Education Page, which is filled with a variety of curricula, tips on how to use HistoryLink, lesson plans that incorporate HistoryLink essays and features, links to other online educational resources, and so much more.

HistoryLink is used in classrooms from elementary school all the way up to university level. Teachers and students who are new to the site should check out our frequently asked questions about state history, as well as our condensed chronologies of major historic milestones, from prehistory to 1850, 1851 to 1900, 1901 to 1950, and 1951 to the present. Those wishing to dig deeper should check out our Advanced Search page, which provides a variety of ways to access information about Washington's past.

Many elementary and secondary students are starting to work on their National History Day projects, and we urge them to look around our online encyclopedia for topic ideas and more. This year's History Day theme is "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History," and students looking for HistoryLink essays related to this theme should check out those collected under our Exploration topic as a good place to start their own investigations of Washington history. (Image Courtesy MOHAI)

Working Class

We also honor Labor Day this week with a look back at Washington's early history of union organizing and economic reform, which predates statehood and begins with the Knights of Labor. Unfortunately, workers' anger sometimes targeted Chinese immigrants, African Americans, and other ethnic groups instead of exploitative management.

Washington was a fertile recruiting ground for the Industrial Workers of the World, particularly after 1908 when the General of the Overalls Brigade arrived in Spokane at a time when near-destitute migrant laborers were being hired, fired, and replaced on virtually a daily basis to prevent any union organizing among them.The Wobblies were democratic, vocal, rowdy, and tended to burst into song. Spokane soon banned street meetings and the famed Spokane free-speech fight was on.

In Seattle, women workers spent years seeking recognition, which they achieved in 1913 when the American Federation of Labor held its 33rd annual convention in Seattle. In 1914 labor activist Mother Jones came to town to roast capitalists and rouse proletarians with a fiery speech, but the strongest voice may have belonged to Anna Louise Strong, whose 1919 editorial in the Seattle Union Record -- a daily newspaper published by organized labor -- helped launch the nation's first general strike.

News Then, History Now

Into the Fray: On September 5, 1858, four days after winning the Battle of Four Lakes, U.S. Army troops under Colonel George Wright defeated a force of Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and Palouse tribesmen at Battle of Spokane Plains. During the fight artist Gustavus Sohon sketched a panoramic view of the engagement, and he also documented Wright's controversial roundup and slaughter of 800 tribal horses a few days later.

Opening Day: A pair of Seattle institutions got their start this week in 1911. On September 5, King County voters approved the creation of the Port of Seattle. The election was a success for the municipal ownership movement and a personal triumph for visionary engineer R. H. Thomson. Three days later, on September 8, 1911, Children's Orthopedic Hospital opened on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, thanks to the efforts of Anna Clise and her friends.

Gone Away: On September 5, 1921, Roy Gardner -- the king of escape artists -- broke loose from McNeil Island Penitentiary but was later recaptured. And on September 5, 1928, James Eugene Bassett went missing while trying to sell a car in Seattle. His body was never found, and it was 10 years before one of his killers confessed.

Paving the Way: Businessman and philanthropist Sam Hill took a keen interest in good roads and for years promoted a coastal highway stretching from Vancouver, B.C. to Tijuana, Mexico. On September 6, 1921, he dedicated his Peace Arch on the Canadian border at Blaine, even though the road's point of entry into Canada had not yet been decided. The arch was rededicated less than a year later, and again in 1926.

Crossing Over: On September 9, 1948, the ferry Martha S. of Keller made her maiden voyage across Lake Roosevelt. For more than 65 years the vessel transported vehicles and passengers between Ferry and Lincoln counties until she was replaced by the MV Sanpoil in 2013.

Shaken Up: On September 5, 1962, Elvis Presley swiveled into Seattle to film a movie on the Century 21 Exposition fairgrounds. In all, Elvis spent 10 days in Seattle filming scenes, signing autographs, and even going out on a few dates with one lucky girl whose mom happened to work at the fair. When It Happened at the World's Fair was released the following spring, it joined the ranks of Presley's somewhat weaker films, but it remains a favorite for more than a few fans here in the Pacific Northwest.

Shut Down: Twenty-five years ago this week, on September 6, 1990, Federal District Court Judge William Dwyer ruled that the Metro Council was unconstitutional. Created on September 9, 1958, with the initial mission of cleaning up Lake Washington, the regional utility in1972 gained authority to operate public-transit services. Although it won high marks for efficiency, Metro's federated governance rankled critics and fudged the constitutional mandate of "one person, one vote."

Quote of the Week

What would constitute useful history? That which should teach us our duties and our rights, without appearing to teach them.


Image of the Week

The Fox Theatre opened in Spokane on September 3, 1931. Recently restored, it is now known as the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Whitman College opens in Walla Walla on September 4, 1882.

White workingmen attack Bellingham's East Indian millworkers on September 4, 1907.

Group Health Cooperative holds first formal membership meeting and passes bylaws on September 4, 1946.

Central Contractors Association demands are partially met on September 4, 1969.

Boeing moves corporate headquarters to Chicago on September 4, 2001.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Air Washington -- Thumbnail History

Couples, Fred (b. 1959)

Seattle native Fred Couples wins the Masters, one of professional golf's major tournaments, on April 12, 1992.

Hanson, Ole Thorsteinsson (1874-1940)

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